News

Australia warned away from US-China war-talk

For the Pentagon, the CIA, the State Department and more, Trump has picked people who publicly disagree with him on some cornerstones of his agenda In confirmation hearings.
For the Pentagon, the CIA, the State Department and more, Trump has picked people who publicly disagree with him on some cornerstones of his agenda In confirmation hearings. AP Photo - Steve Helber

THE US has been warned of potentially "devastating consequences" if it blocks China from islands it has built in contested waters in the South China Sea, according to Chinese media reports.

And in more inflammatory comments, prospective US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was told he better watch his mouth, after the former ExxonMobil CEO told US senators that he would seek to deny Beijing access to the artificial islands.

China's actions in the region are comparable to Russia's invasion of Crimea, he said, a comment that did not sit well with the nuclear-armed Asian giant.

If Tillerson acted on his threats, Chinese state-owned China Daily warned "it would set a course for devastating confrontation between China and the US." Satellite photos show China has been hard at work building military facilities in the contested waters, which are also claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam, among others.

The sentiment former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating to comment that Canberra needed to tell the incoming Trump administration from the get-go that Australia will sit out any US "adventurism" over South China Sea tensions.

"When the US secretary of state-designate threatens to involve Australia in war with China, the Australian people need to take note," he said in a statement.

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating wants Canberra to tell Trump that we’ll sit out any adventurism over South China Sea tensions.
Former Prime Minister Paul Keating wants Canberra to tell Trump that we’ll sit out any adventurism over South China Sea tensions. Stuart McEvoy for The Australian.

Australia should not provide naval commitment to joint operations in the South China Sea and no enhanced US military facilitation of such operations, he said.

Tillerson's claim China's control of access to the South China Sea would be a threat to the "entire global economy" was "ludicrous", Mr Keating said.

"No country would be more badly affected than China if it moved to impede navigation.

"On the other hand, Australia's prosperity and the security of the world would be devastated by war."

Under US President Barack Obama, Washington has claimed Beijing's activities in the region threaten freedom of navigation and overflight through the commercially and strategically vital waters.

But is has not taken a position on the ownership of the islets, reefs and shoals that sit in one of the world's hot spots.

Tillerson, however, explicitly said that the territories "are not rightfully China's."

"Unless Washington plans to wage a large-scale war in the South China Sea, any other approaches to prevent

Chinese access to the islands will be foolish," the nationalistic Global Times wrote in an editorial.

The paper, which is thought to have some insight into the thinking of more hawkish members of Chinese Communist Party, added that Tillerson better "bone up on nuclear power strategies if he wants to force a big nuclear power to withdraw from its own territories."

It has previously called on Beijing to increase its nuclear arsenal after Donald Trump threatened to up-end decades of US policy on Taiwan by suggesting he could recognise the island, which China regards as an indisputable part of its sovereign territory.

China's official reaction to the comments was muted, with foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang politely urging Washington to mind its own business.

"The South China Sea situation has cooled down and we hope non-regional countries can respect the consensus that it is in the fundamental interest of the whole world," he said.

News Corp Australia

Topics:  australia china editors picks paul keating south china sea usa


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Iconic trophy coming to Lismore

2016 Emirates Melbourne Cup.

Lismore will host the 18-carat gold Emirates Melbourne Cup in 2017

Applications open for Country Arts Support Program

CASP 2016 The Microscope Art Project Mullumbimby

Northern Rivers projects favoured for funding

Northern Rivers drug driving rate 5 times state average

CAUGHT OUT: At least eight people have appeared at Ipswich Court this week to plead guilty to drink-driving or drug-driving-related offences.

Number of people facing drug driving charges has more than tripled

Local Partners

Big Rob needs Legal Aid to help defend charges

Mr Rob appeared before Lismore Local Court this morning over seven charges one which includes breaching an interim AVO in relation to the Lismore mayor.

Mandy and Ellen will be just women like us in Nimbin

DUO: Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs bring their hit show Women Like Us to Nimbin.

Hit comedy show heading towards Nimbin

Felix Riebl wants to be in your arms

TOURING NOW: Australian musician Felix Riebl is coming to the Northern Rivers in June.

Cat Empire frontman brings out his romantic side in solo show

First female superhero film in 12 years

AMAZON: Actress Gal Gadot in a scene from the film Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman opens next Thursday

Wonder Woman is a kick-arse superhero romp

WITH so much at stake, thank Zeus that Wonder Woman didn’t fall into the same trap as its DC Extended Universe predecessors.

Everything coming to Netflix, Stan, Foxtel and Amazon Prime Video this June

Orange Is The New Black returns for another season.

Find out what's being added to our streaming services in June.

Sam Armytage and Tom Cruise? Saaaaay what?

Apparently, the answer is no.

Musical tribute to flood volunteers released

Songwriter honours flood volunteers who helped their neighbours.

Lismore songwriter Simon Thomas was moved by strangers' kindness

Karl Stefanovic's rant about Schapelle Corby 'a bit rich'

Karl Stefanovic is sick of hearing about Schapelle Corby.

Maybe he just wanted to make himself the story.

Could Schapelle be heading for Gladstone?

Australian Schapelle Corby is escorted by Bali Police at the parole office in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, 27 May 2017.

Schapelle's mother teases her free daughter could be Gladstone bound

Six things you never knew about Men in Black

Mushu the pug

It's been 20 years since Men in Black first hit cinemas

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!